Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Member

Dr. James Satterfield, Jr., Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Patricia First

Committee Member

Dr. Tony Cawthon

Committee Member

Dr. D. Matthew Boyer


The United States' economic future and ability to compete in the global economy is dependent on increasing the nation's higher education attainment rates. The U.S. has a persisting and widening educational attainment gap for underserved groups and marginalized populations. Policymakers, industry leaders, educators and social advocates agree that the that increasing college-going and college completion for underserved groups, particularly, first-generation populations can help secure the nation's economic future. College access programs that involve parents and families have demonstrated success in helping first-generation college students and marginalized students in navigating the college choice process. While the literature on college choice and college preparation programs identify parent and family involvement as one of the most influential factors in the college going process; there is an evident lack of research focused on how such programs engage parents and families. Recognizing this gap, this instrumental case study explored a summer college access program that fosters parent and family involvement. This study revealed that the primary engagement practices included a meeting with all program participants and their parents/guardians; an overnight weekend campus visit for the parents/guardians of new program participants; and efforts around creating a relationship with the program participants and their families. A central component of these efforts include funding resources, institutional support, and program alumni involvement. The study also revealed opportunities for leveraging the community cultural wealth found within marginalized communities.



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